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A Christian music artist who lost her sight as a toddler brings her messages of hope to Tallahassee

Ginny Owens
ANDREW BRODHEAD
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Ginny Owens/Chickpower Music
Ginny Owens will perform and share stories about living a life of faith in the face of debilitating odds. Both Tallahassee performances of “Finding Hope in Darkness” are free and open to all.

An award-winning Christian singer, songwriter, and author will be in Tallahassee this weekend for two free performances. Ginny Owens has been blind since early childhood, but that didn’t stop her from learning to play the piano and sharing positive messages.

Of all the hats Owens has worn for more than 2 decades in the music business, she chooses an unexpected one to describe herself.

“'Communicator of hope,' because I feel like even songwriting or singing or speaking always sort of has this end goal for me of telling people you can do this, you're not alone," says Owens in a Zoom chat from her New York City apartment. "You can get to the next phase, you know, there's a reason to lift your head and smile today. So everything I do kind of has that end.”

Owens was picking out melodies on her family’s old out of tune piano at age 2. Her natural abilities remained after she lost her sight to a degenerative eye condition at 3-years-old. She got a degree in music and began her recording career in the late 1990’s.

Owens recently completed her Masters of Biblical Studies. She kept up her message of hope during the pandemic, releasing new songs last year alongside a book called Singing In The Dark.

“It's a lot about my own journey, specifically my journey of faith and finding hope in the midst of not only the challenge of being blind, but I think just some of the challenges that come with that - which sort of are challenges for all of us, like accepting ourselves," Owens says. "And, maybe for me, a huge challenge was being okay with not being accepted by others.”

On her YouTube channel, Owens showcases her music videos and offers glimpses of her life in a series called "How I See It."

She explains how she maneuvers daily tasks like using an iPhone, baking, and picking out clothes: "Mom said, you know, you gotta remember you want to match your clothes and you want to look good when you walk out of the house because you don’t want people to say 'bless her heart, that poor blind girl, she doesn’t know how to dress.”

Owens says she started the vlog because people had questions that they weren't comfortable asking. That led to her first videos about how she crosses the street and puts on makeup.

“So it’s kind of like a dialogue," Owens says, "which I think that's a good lesson for life, right? Just inviting people into your world and inviting them to be curious has been a very enjoyable, life-giving thing for me.”

Ginny Owens
Ginny Owens
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Facebook
Ginny Owens

Owens has performed at the White House, Lilith Fair, and the Sundance Film Festival. She’s been an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Belmont University. Last year, she contributed to an all-female book and album collaboration called Faithful with stars like Amy Grant.

Now, Owens promises to bring songs, stories, and humor to her performances in Tallahassee this weekend.

“It is often in the hardest things of our lives that we grow the most, that we develop the most character, and that we actually find the most reasons for hope," Owens says. "So my events are always an invitation to the audience to consider where they are, what their stories have been like, and really look for those moments of hope in their own stories.”

Ginny Owens will perform Friday night at FSU’s Wesley Foundation at 705 W. Jefferson St., then again Saturday night at Killearn United Methodist Church (KUMC) at 2800 Shamrock St.

Both performances of “Finding Hope in Darkness” are from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. They are free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted. Due to limited seating, those attending the KUMC show are urged to sign up here. Childcare will not be available. For more information, call (850) 893-1116 or email cstanton@kumconline.org.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. Follow Gina: @hearyourthought on Twitter. Click below for Gina's full bio.